By Chuck Wilson
“In this debut feature from writer-director Mark Banning, Michael Ealy gives an achingly sensitive performance as Jacob, a young mentally ill New Yorker who stops taking his personality-dulling meds in order to charm a beautiful woman. There’s an affecting solemnity to the sight of Jacob sitting alone in his room, staring at the ceiling, watching madness come.”
By Jason Sanders
“One man’s battle with bipolar disorder formed the backbone of Jellysmoke, but the film’s charm wasn’t so much in the plot as in its rhythm and atmosphere. Like rising smoke, Jellysmoke is strangely hypnotic as it unspools, able to tune its audience in to the medicated dazes and bipolar crazes of its hero (rivetingly played by Michael Ealy), a man unmoored and unloved in contemporary Brooklyn. At first glance reminiscent of the early films of Spike Lee, Jellysmoke has a gentle naturalism that seems expansive enough to include the Parisian mileaus of Rohmer or a more mellow, deeply medicated Cassavetes, yet its strength of atmosphere seems culled from a Brooklyn all its own, one shot with obvious affection by cinematographer Cliff Charles.”
LA Splash Magazine
By Demita Usher
“Mental instability is no laughing matter and the power of mental illness can be overwhelming. In the world premiere of the film, Jellysmoke, written, directed, and produced by Mark Banning, he takes us inside the world of a man named Jacob who struggles with a bi-polar disorder and the effect it has on his relationships with friends and family. The film stars Michel Ealy (Barbershop, Barbershop 2, Their Eyes Were Watching God) as Jacob with a talented supporting cast.
The movie’s candid approach will help you to see the devastating effects a mental illness can have on people and their loved ones. Mark Banning commented before the screening that a real friend who struggles with a bi-polar disorder inspired the movie and he wanted to use his film as a means to express the reality of the struggle with mental illness.”